Why is the African Union still failing its people on peace and security? – By Martin PlautAfrican Arguments | African Arguments

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Why is the African Union still failing its people on peace and security? – By Martin PlautAfrican Arguments | African Arguments.

“The conflict in the Central African Republic is spiralling out of control. “Strife in Central African Republic could turn into religious war and spill over borders, UN warns,” reads the headline in the UN’s latest report. The UN’s head of Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, told the Security Council that killings were continuing daily, dividing the country along religious lines – nearly 1 million have been driven from their homes and half the population needs aid.

This is exactly the kind of catastrophe that the African Union was designed to address. The organisation’s constitution was specifically written to allow it to step in where its widely discredited predecessor – the Organisation of African Unity – had failed to act. As its constitution puts it, the African Union can directly intervene in a member state in: “…grave circumstances, namely war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.”

This was introduced to ensure that Africa’s senior organization would never again allow itself to stand idly by, as it had done during the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Or so we thought…”

Thabo Mbeki on Sovereignty and Democracy in Africa

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Mbeki focuses on Libya while acknowledging that intervention in Ivory Coast also carries many of the same lessons. He recalls the adoption by the African Union Peace and Security Council of a roadmap for the resolution of the Libyan conflict, which secured Qaddafi’s agreement. The AU then forwarded its decision to the UN and the Arab league.

However, the UN Security Council ignored the African Union and took as the justification for its actions the positions taken by the Arab League. It adopted Resolution 1973, which provided the justification for NATO “to intervene in Libya to impose a violent resolution to this conflict, centered on regime change—which was not the intention of Resolution 1973.”

Mbeki charges President Obama, Prime Minister Cameron, President Sarkozy, and the UN with imposing their own solution on an African state. (He denies that Qaddafi was intent on making war on his own people.) It particularly sticks in his craw that the UN gave greater weight to the Arab League than to the African Union; in effect, he accuses the UN of detaching Libya from Africa.

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